Deborah Barak, a longtime CBS business executive noted for overseeing and helping shape deals for the Grammys, TV series and more survivor And the CBS All Access platform, is dead. She is 65 years old.
A CBS representative told Barack she died Saturday at her home in Studio City with family and friends by her side hollywood reporterThe former executive, whose work spanned CBS Entertainment, CBS Television Studios and CBS News, has cancer. In an email to employees Saturday night, CBS Entertainment President Amy Reisenbach shared the news of Barak’s death and said the former CBS head of business affairs not only is “pure class, intelligence, and goodness,” and “the reason I love CBS so much.”
“I know not everyone in this email knows her, or maybe not at all, but those who do know that she is truly an amazing person. She was an incredible and loyal Mother and grandmother. She was a great friend to many people,” Reisenbach said in an email. “Her talent as a business executive is unparalleled. Debbie is a hard bargain, but always fair and compassionate. She is also a mentor to dozens of people at CBS, including me.”
In a statement, CBS Studios president David Stapf described Barack as a mentor, collaborator, dear friend, and individual — “equally intimidating, smart as hell, and unbelievable.” empathetic”
“She’s the person everyone turns to for advice and guidance, both professionally and personally. You always leave her office feeling a little wiser and emotionally stronger,” he added . “There is no one at CBS and across our entire business who is more universally loved, admired and respected.”
Nina Tasler, former chairman of CBS Entertainment and current partner and co-founder of PATMA Productions, added that Barak is someone who is “respected and admired across the media landscape” for being “intelligent, tenacious, and fair to all,” and “Treat all” everyone with grace and dignity. “
“Her business acumen and sophisticated negotiating skills are complemented by her humanity and decency. Working together for over 20 years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Her intellect and deep appreciation of the artist make Debbie a world-class character. Few have her myriad of unique talents,” she continued. “She is unassuming and media-averse, and is beloved by staff and creative executives across the company and across the industry.”
Barak joined CBS in 1985 as broadcast counsel for the network’s West Coast legal department. In her nearly forty years at the company — ending in early 2020 after five years as president of CBS Entertainment, CBS Television Studios and CBS News — she has held a variety of roles, building key companies around talent and producer deals infrastructure, and program license agreements. She also developed new business models and reinvented CBS’s late-night programming, reality TV, and more.
Barak represents CBS on the board that oversees The CW and has handled many of the network’s high-profile television license renewals, including The Late Show with David Letterman, big bang theory and two and a half menand longer-term franchise renewals such as the Grammys, Country Music Awards and Kennedy Center Honors.
She is especially responsible for drafting documents survivor Actor contracts, not only serving today’s decades-long shows, have also become the template for reality TV talent deals. On Late Night, she helped the studio move from rental to fully-owned programming, negotiating talent and production deals for Stephen Colbert and James Corden, the first late-night series produced by a CBS television studio. She was also responsible for bringing programming ownership to CBS primetime.
As television enters the streaming age, she will help guide the expansion of CBS All Access, while developing the business template for CBS’ summer original scripted series model, which generates a seasonal SVOD window and reduces network licensing fees.She is also responsible for laying the foundation CBS All Access’ Original series licensing structure, which influenced similar shows Star Trek: Discovery.
One of her final moves as a CBS executive, before leaving in 2020, was negotiating CBS’s purchase of Kapital Entertainment’s interest, as well as a distribution and co-production deal with Imagine Entertainment.
Prior to becoming President of Business Operations, Barak served for five years starting in 2010 as Executive Vice President, CBS Network Television Entertainment, CBS Business Operations. Prior to that, she held the titles of Executive Vice President, Business, Senior Vice President, Business, CBS Entertainment; Please, Business Planning and Special Projects, CBS Network Television Entertainment Group. Before entering the studio, she was a partner at O’Melveny & Myers. Barack is a graduate of UCLA and has a law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
She is survived by her mother, Beverly, sister Shirley Cunningham and her husband, Paul. her son Jonathan and his partner Hannah; her two daughters Sarah Buchsbaum and her husband Aaron, and Hannah Milgrom and husband Paul Brumfield; and four beloved grandchildren.